Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April paddle...found and lost

What a gorgeous weekend for a paddle trip!  And we weren't the only ones who thought so.

We headed toward Eminence after picking up Zack from chess.  I had checked a couple of places to stay the night and decided on the Riverside Motel in Eminence.  It was my first choice, but it was relatively clean and quite cheap for a brief night before hitting the river.  We've certainly stayed in worse over the years.  The walls were a bit thin though.  A sneezing neighbor woke us up.

The next stop was Harvey's at Alley Spring to arrange a shuttle.  They were as nice as could be.  Zack got a cheap new pair of swim trunks and they gave him some marshmallows...probably from last season.

Buck Hollow access on Hwy 17 was our put-in.  It had been over 20 years since I'd been through there and was surprised to see a nice new bridge.  There was a lone kayaker unloading his gear when we arrived, but by the time we pushed off there were several vehicles in line.

Debbie and I were in the tan Mad River Explorer with our gear and Zack was in his kayak.  He had his trusty dry bag, that he later found out leaks, a frisbee, a ball, and some drinks.  This was the first time we spent an entire paddling trip without towing him at some point.  He held on to our boat for brief periods, but he never tied on to us.

The weather on Saturday started out on the chilly side.  Here is Zack with quite a few clothes at Blue Springs.

A quick lunch stop found us at Jam Up Cave.  I went to shorts and sandals at that point.  After lunch we explored the mouth of the cave.

Our goal was to get past Rymer's before camping for the night.  The prime sandbar camping spots were taken as we eased our way down stream, but we finally took refuge on a small gravel bar just upstream from Chalk Bluff.

Zack spent much of his time in camp throwing rocks before roasting his stale marshmallows.  At dusk he teased the bats with rocks.

I spent my first night on my new sleeping pad.  It seems my gear is starting to wear out and replacements are in order (backpacking stove, water filter, dry bags, etc.).  I've not ever slept on a sleep number bed, but I sure had the sleeping pad on firm.

Sunday started off cloudy.  By 10 am it was bright, sunny, and warming fast.  We left camp in shorts and headed to our Bay Creek take out.

Zack had wanted to swim on Saturday, but we told him the temperatures would be better on Sunday.  When we settled on a good swimming hole, Zack stripped down to his trunks and sandals.  I ran and dove in, but he stayed on the bank.  Let's just say it was invigorating.

We were off the water and headed home by 2 pm, a fine weekend behind us.

By the way, I found a 56 inch Bending Branches Arrow paddle.  But I lost my tried and true Columbia wide-brimmed hat.  It blew off in the wind, sank, and lodged on a rock.  I'm pretty sure I came out ahead.

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